Date: 
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 15:30

The Eden Project is giving children the chance to meet Father Christmas and his reindeer during its sparkling winter festival, starting next Friday, November 23.

Father Christmas will be telling magical fireside stories in his cosy home at Eden before giving every child a keepsake for them to look after until Christmas Eve.

He will also be bringing five real reindeer who will live at Eden throughout the Christmas period. Visitors can explore a tepee near the reindeer stable and hear the traditional stories of the Sami reindeer herders, an indigenous people of the Arctic Circle.

Before meeting Father Christmas, visitors can embark on a trail around Eden to collect the special global ingredients he needs to feed his reindeer and prepare them for their big trip on Christmas Eve.

Christmas craft workshops will be in the Mediterranean Biome and there will be a special festive menu on offer in the Eden Bakery. A real 40ft (12 metre) Norway Spruce Christmas tree will be situated outside the Core building. In the Eden shop visitors can pick up unusual Christmas gifts and other seasonal goodies.

Always a highlight at Christmas, the enchanting lantern procession will be returning, giving families the chance to light up the Eden Project. There will also be traditional storytelling across the site and live music from world folk band Bragatanga and the Eden Project’s choir during the evenings in the Mediterranean Biome.

Father Christmas will be at Eden on November 23, 24, 25 and 30 and December 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 14 through to 23. The winter festival will continue into the New Year until January 6 2013.

Chris Pritchard, Programme Producer at the Eden Project, said: “There’s going to be a fabulous Christmas atmosphere around Eden during the winter festival. Father Christmas and his reindeer will be getting visitors excited for the big day and the whole of Eden is going to look beautiful with our giant tree, sparkling lights, wonderful decorations and of course our spectacular lantern procession.”

Eden is making the experience of meeting Father Christmas and his reindeer as magical as possible for the children. Only those who have booked a place will be  guaranteed an audience with  Father Christmas (included within the normal Eden admission price). To book a Father Christmas experience visit www.edenproject.com or call 01726 811972.

An art installation from Cape Farewell, an international not-for-profit programme aimed at highlighting climate change, will also be at Eden during the Christmas period. Hundreds of “Arctic Gnomes” will be placed outside the Mediterranean Biome and will be given to visitors who make a pledge towards lowering their eco-footprint.

Residents of Cornwall and Devon can also take up the Local Pass offer which entitles them to unlimited entry to Eden a year for £7.50 per person or two years for £12.50 per person. The offer runs from November 5 to December 20 and proof of address (such as a utility bill) alongside photo ID (such as a driving licence or passport) is required.

This winter will also see the return of Eden’s community weekends, which give free entry to groups such as NHS and emergency services workers, teachers, charity workers, members of the armed forces, residents of St. Austell and others on specific weekends throughout the winter.
The Eden ice-rink is open throughout the winter and general skating is open every weekday afternoon from 3pm, all day Saturday and from midday on Sunday until it closes for the season on March 3, 2013.

A skate costs £6 per 40-minute session (on top of the normal admission) and a variety of specialist ice sessions are also on offer including parent and toddler ice-play, Chilly Juniors sessions for 6-12 year olds as well as lessons.

Frequent skaters can buy season passes for access to the rink during any general session. A pass costs £110 for the whole season or £60 for the second half, starting on Boxing Day.

For more information on booking ice-skating, and Christmas opening hours (including late night opening), visit www.edenproject.com.